March 4, 2024

Chia Seeds in 2014: top Google Search, Salmonella Outbreak Source

Chia seeds were the source of a 16-state Salmonella outbreak that sickened 31 people in the U.S.  The outbreak also spilled over into Canada, where another 63 cases were reported.

A chia powder Salmonella outbreak linked to chia powder has hit NY and WI hardHealth investigators in the U.S. traced the source of the outbreak, which began in late January, to organic sprouted chia powder. Several recalls were issued.

Because it is considered a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids fiber, calcium, iron and magnesium, chia powder has become a popular health food. Sprouted chia powder is made from chia seeds that are sprouted, dried and ground. Because of the moist conditions required to sprout seeds, controlling bacterial growth can be difficult.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection usually develop between 12 and 72 hours after exposure and include diarrhea, which can be bloody, nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms generally persist four to seven days.

The outbreak involved three strains: Salmonella Newport (20 cases), Salmonella Hartford (7 cases) and Salmonella Oranienburg (4 cases.) Five people were hospitalized. No fatalities were reported.

By state the breakdown of cases was as follows: Arizona (1), California (4), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Florida (1), Illinois (2), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New York (7), Ohio (1), Rhode Island (1), Texas (2), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

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